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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic/Swan Song)

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Rock was already getting heavier before Led Zeppelin emerged at the end of the ’60s, but their first LP, with the exploding Hindenburg cover, set the pace for the direction of hard rock in the ’70s and the rise of heavy metal. The band’s first three albums have been reissued as double CD sets. Remastered by Jimmy Page, that familiar music sounds as good as it ever did. The bonus disc accompanying the 1969 debut album features a good concert recording from that year, revealing the band’s roots in The Yardbirds. The additional material on Led Zeppelin II and III consists mainly of rough or alternate takes, interesting to fans but not essential. The albums themselves have worn well over the years and are remarkable for their diversity. Amped-up blues-rock flows easily from Tolkienesque folk-rock—and it all makes sense together.